Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ on Hulu

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman cast ‘Doubt’ on Netflix

Take the title at face value: Doubt (2008), directed and adapted for the screen by playwright John Patrick Shanley, does not offer answers. Rather, it challenges us to understand our own instincts to believe in the absence of proof. Sunny, optimistic idealist Sister James (Amy Adams), a young nun teaching history to junior high boys […]

Stephen Chow in Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Comedy: ‘Shaolin Soccer’ and ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ on Netflix

In the early 2000s, Hong Kong comedy star Stephen Chow stole Jackie Chan’s crown as Hong Kong’s clown prince of kung fu comedy. He was dubbed the Jim Carrey of Hong Kong by American critics, but that completely misses his appeal. Sure, Chow is a brilliant physical comedian with an unpredictable streak, but he also […]

‘Easy Rider’ – On the road to find America on Hulu

Peter Fonda was already a counterculture icon when he suited up in black leather and a star-spangled helmet, mounted a Harley-Davidson chopper, tossed his watch to the desert floor, and drove off with a shaggy Dennis Hopper in search of America. The film was Easy Rider (1969), an independent film produced by Fonda, directed by Hopper, […]

Christopher Plummer hosts 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,' a film by Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ on Netflix

With The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) Terry Gilliam, the mad imagineer of such wickedly funny and wildly creative visions as Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Twelve Monkeys (okay, that last one isn’t quite so funny), dives back into his diabolical imagination for this carny sideshow of a Faust tale in the […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time it is certainly on the short list, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’ on Netflix

Strangers on a Train (1951) is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s undisputed masterpieces, a thriller of demented wish fulfillment turned into a waking nightmare that turns on a chance meeting. Demented playboy Bruno (Robert Walker, whose insidious insincerity is unsettling from his first scene) meets champion tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). Bruno knows that Guy has […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime Video

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Hulu

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]